If your child has been involved with youth sports for a few seasons chances are you’ve had one or two bad coaches. Now someone could be a bad youth sports coach for a number of reasons. Maybe they signed up to coach to ensure their child would be the star player, or maybe they had good intentions but just didn’t know enough to be an effective coach. Most sports parents would probably choose an inept but enthusiastic coach over a selfish parent-coach who only cares about their own player, but either way the rest of the team isn’t getting what they need to develop as young athletes. Most sports parents are lucky enough to only have one or two bad sports coaches over the years, but one of our sports moms brought up a really interesting question, “Any advice on having a bad coach that moves up with the team in each age group? I feel like I’m left with no option but to remove my child from the team altogether.”
Depending on how large your community’s baseball or soccer league is there might only be a few teams so it’s hard to move to a new team with a good coach. Or maybe the same people keep volunteering year after year so the bad coaches never get replaced. It’s probably safe to assume that this sports mom and the coach have players the same age so the coach just keeps moving up the leagues with their son or daughter. But it is an interesting (and unfortunate) dilemma for this sports mom to be in. What could she do to get away from the bad coach?
1. Volunteer to coach (or assistant coach) herself.
The first step would be to determine what makes this coach so bad. Are they the selfish parent-coach? The win-at-all-costs kind of coach? Disrespectful to the players and other parents? Or just too inexperienced to coach? A bad personality is hard to overcome from the sidelines, so maybe our sports mom could, if she was ready for the responsibility, offer to step up this season to coach her child’s team, or at least volunteer as assistant coach. She might be able to make better changes for the team if she was working from the inside out. If the coach only cares about their son or daughter she could make sure the other players are still having a good time and learning the fundamentals. If the coach is just inexperienced (or overwhelmed) perhaps a helping hand is all they need to improve.
2. Try to join another team in the same league.
Our sports mom might be able to talk to the sports league and try to get her son or daughter on another team in the same league. Sports administrators are, for the most part, pretty reasonable people. If she explained the situation she might be able to get her youth athlete onto a different team for the upcoming season and hope for better luck with the new coach. The league might not be able to shuffle players around (especially if there aren’t many registrants) but it’s worth a shot.
3. Encourage her child to pick a new sport.
Keep in mind, her child might love the coach, even if they aren’t particularly good at it. Plenty of “bad” coaches out there still know how make every minute of practice fun and get the kids excited about playing, even if they don’t really know what they are doing. This might not work so well for a high-powered travel team but for a U-6 soccer team it might not be the worst thing ever. But if our sports mom really wants to get away from this coach it might be worth encouraging her son or daughter try a new sport. Instead of soccer why not go for lacrosse? Trade baseball for tennis or football for cross-country? At the very least she should give her child the option to stay with the coach or try something new if they want out.